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09 April 2008 @ 11:46 am
Non-mod discussion post  

*please delete if not allowed*

The other day, our History of Literature lecturer began talking about fan fiction as though it was a new, fascinating phenomenon in literature; one that the class, as future librarians, should be aware of. At first he really cracked me up, because he was all over terms like "Mary Sue" and "slash" like it was secret code language, and he made examples of the Harry Potter and Jane Austen fandoms in particular.

But then I started thinking, Does he have a point? Does fan fiction have any literary value at all? I know many writers tend to do in-depth character studies and the like, a lot of which is very well written. Can we call ourselves authors? Is what we're doing a proper genre in literature or is it rubbish? I know I would never accept my own stuff as literature in the classic sense; perhaps not at all.

What do you all (writers and readers alike) think of this? Are we artists, authors, closet writers or what?

Maz (or foxxy!): St Michaeltuesdaeschild on April 9th, 2008 11:44 am (UTC)
I don't think of myself as an author and not even a writer really. All I know is I love to create worlds in which the TV characters can live and do things the shows would never have them do.

I think I'm just a big kid playing in my sandbox but I do feel there are those who write fanfic who could succeed with original fiction.

As for fanfic having literary value? If literature provides an escape from reality or encourages the reader to think about what they have read then yes, I think it does. But I'm happy to be shot down on this!

Good thought-provoking post, sweetheart! :)
Recycledfaery: Michael - hmmmrecycledfaery on April 9th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
Now this is interesting...

I write fanfic for fun and it keeps me going through the times when my inspiration for original fic dries up. I've only written fanfic for less than a year now. I've been a writer for about 20 years. I believe it depends on the person doing the writng whether they call themselves authors or closet writers I suppose.

I believe the two worlds can co-exist and that both sides can learn from each other.
Tori: pb: fix youtorigates on April 9th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
It makes me sad that a lot of people don't consider fanfiction "real" writing, or the authors "real" authors. If you write, to me you are a writer. I've read a LOT of fanfiction, and to say that it's not real... well then what have I been reading all these years?

I've also read a lot of published literature, and let me tell you, it's not always better, or even better written than some of the fanfiction I've read.

On the other hand, I don't really think that fan culture could survive in the main stream, but I would like to see some of the stigma around writing and reading fanfiction gone.
pluschipluschi on April 9th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's a bit of both? Writing doesn't have to be fancy to be good. Personally I've found in different fandoms that some of the fanfic writers are better than the actual writers and some have talents that would get them really far in real life. However, I think there's a difference between writing because you like it, are passionate about it or want to continue exploring characters in fandom OR writing to make a living out of it.

Maybe it's just with the internet communities that all of the writers-in-the-closet are coming out instead of keeping their books closed and sealed behind door before?
It's the Button on the Topdaughterofelros on April 30th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Those who are prolific enough in their writing, who indeed write well enough to publish novel and novella-length fictions, or whose LiveJournals and Fic Archives if printed out could form a short story anthology are writers. Their contributions to the fandom are literature. In some cases, they may surpass the original artist.

But it's a continuum-- there's a vast difference between myself (I write sporadically) and BNFs in a given fandom. And there's an even greter difference between myself ad my cousin who, bless her soul, writes atrociously twee, horribly punctuated (never utilising the concept of the capital letter) and gramatically incorrect fluff over on FF.net.

We are beginning to see folks who started in their teens as fanfic authors getting major publishing deals and ending up on the NY Times Bestseller list. That's proof positive that some from this pool make the transition to traditional publishing.

I think that Fanfic provides a jumping off point, a finishing school of sorts for those who are serious about their writing. And just with any school, there are other folks who just want to be left alone to play on the playground in peace, or who are shy and don't contribute much.

Fanfiction and fandom are what we make it-- but it's a major change from the past, because we have the power to get our words out there without the help or influence of a Publisher. And it's growing more prolific all the time.